Friday News, March 20
Roadwork To Begin On Monday For Highway 140
(Le Mars) -- Beginning Monday, Iowa Highway 140 will be reduced to one lane of traffic between County road C-70 and Iowa Highway 3. Roadway crews are scheduled to widen and resurface the stretch of highway between Kingsley and Remsen. A pilot car will be in operation with single lane traffic, alternating directions. There will be width limit of 13 feet. Road work crews will be working on Highway 140 from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on weekdays and from 8:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. on Saturdays. The road work is expected to continue until September 30th.
Gehlen Receives $500 Grant For Chromebooks
(Le Mars) -- Gehlen Catholic School was recently awarded a $500 grant from Catholic United Financial Sales Representative, Mr. David Schonardt. Father Kevin Richter, president of Gehlen schools accepted the check this past Tuesday.
The grant will be used to purchase additional Chromebooks for the Technology Department. Gehlen Catholic Technology Director, Mrs. Lori Schuch, stated in the fall of 2013, Gehlen Catholic became a Google School based upon recommendations from the Technology and Academic Subcommittees. Google Schools utilize Google resources, SMART Boards, Chromebooks, and other technological resources. Students work independently and together, engage with their peers in groups, participate in direction instruction from their teachers, use Chromebooks for research, writing, and posting assignments.
Google Schools provide the technological resources to overcome the financial, academic, behavioral, social, and language barriers facing at-risk students. It also incorporates Core Curriculum mandates including 21st Century skills as well as Differentiated Instruction techniques.
Currently, Gehlen Catholic has 270 at-risk students in preschool to 12th grade.
Le Mars Community Middle School To Hold Annual Carnival
(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Community Middle School will host its annual carnival this evening beginning at 6:30 p.m. Steve Shanks serves as the Middle School principal. He says both Middle School gyms will be used for the fundraising event. Shanks says the carnival is the only fund raising event for the Middle School.
This year marks the 38th year for the annual carnival, and Shanks says the money collected usually is between $3000 and $5000. He talks about how the school utilized last year's revenue.
Shanks calls the games associated with the carnival as "old school" traditional carnival games.
The Middle School principal explains people can vote with their money to choose which faculty or administration member will have the opportunity to pucker up for the pig.
Shanks urges people to enter the building using "Door B" next to the flag pole on the east side of the school.
Man Gets Hand Trapped Under Car
HUMBOLDT, Iowa (AP) - A northern Iowa sheriff says a man hacked away at his fingers in a desperate bid to free his trapped hand from beneath a vehicle.
Michael Bohan got a flat tire Tuesday while on his rural Humboldt mail route and planned to take care of it the next day. His brother-in-law Dave Holst spotted Bohan's vehicle Wednesday and soon saw that the vehicle had fallen off jacks and that Bohan was trapped, his left hand stuck in a wheel mechanism.
Rescue crews were called, and they freed Bohan.
Humboldt County Sheriff Dean Kruger confirmed that Bohan had been using a pocketknife to cut off fingers so he could get free. Bohan says he's not sure whether any of Bohan's fingers were completely severed.
Former Texas Governor Perry Visits Iowa Again
WEST DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry is touting his record of tax cuts and job creation during a return trip to Iowa.
The Republican appeared Thursday at an event sponsored by a county GOP organization held in suburban Des Moines. He said that wage growth has slowed over the past decade and argued that lowering taxes, limiting business regulation and improving educational attainment would help reverse that trend.
Perry has not declared his 2016 plans, but he has already hired five Iowa staffers and has made numerous visits to the state over the past year as he considers a presidential bid.
Perry has been trying to avoid missteps he made during the 2012 presidential race, when he finished fifth in the Iowa caucuses and quit the race two weeks later.
Senate Approves Bill That Would Change Deadline For Absentee Ballots
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A Senate panel has approved a bill that would change the deadline for when most people in Iowa would need to submit absentee ballots, though some lawmakers say they will introduce changes to the House-backed legislation.
A State Government subcommittee approved the bill Thursday. It heads to the full committee for consideration.
The bill would require that absentee ballots be received by a county auditor's office before polls close on Election Day. Current law requires the ballots be postmarked no later than the day before Election Day.
Critics say the bill, which passed recently in the House, would disenfranchise voters. Supporters say the current system needs to be fixed because some post offices are failing to properly postmark.
Some Democrats say the bill needs changes to advance in the Senate.
DHS Director Gets Grilled By Legislators Regarding Closure Of Mental Health Institutes
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The head of the Iowa Department of Human Services is defending the decision to close two state mental health facilities and switch the state's Medicaid program to private management.
DHS Director Charles Palmer told the Senate Human Resources Committee on Thursday that the department was facing budget shortfalls when he recommended closing the facilities in Clarinda and Mount Pleasant. He says despite complaints about space, patients will be able to seek treatment elsewhere.
Palmer says the plan to switch Medicaid to managed care will also improve care to patients, which include the poor and individuals with disabilities.
The Democratic-controlled Senate must confirm Palmer's appointment for him to continue on the job.
Some lawmakers expressed reservations about the upcoming changes. Palmer says he's committed to working with lawmakers on their concerns.